ECOWAS Ministers in charge of the national tourism sectors in member states have come together to give tourism in West Africa a great boost with the validation and adoption of the regulatory texts of the Tourist Accommodation Establishment in the ECOWAS region, Friday, 7th April 2023. This working document with recommendations was presented to the ministers by tourism experts who spent the last 3 days drafting a well-researched legal framework that covers all aspects of hotel accommodation classification and grading.
Mrs. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, in her welcome address, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray expressed her sincere appreciation to the Honarable Ministers for accepting to be part of a historic event in the tourism sector.
She also extended ECOWAS’ sincere gratitude to the President of Togolese Republic, His Excellency Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, for accepting to host this all important meeting as the ECOWAS takes key steps towards adopting relevant instruments to give a boost to tourism sector. This is in line with emerging trends and hailed as the critical role played by the Government of Togo in the integration and economic development of ECOWAS since its establishment. Which was reiterated by the presence and the support received in the facilitation of the meeting from Dr. LAMADOKOU Kossi Honorable Minister of Culture and Tourism of Togo and his very able team.
She further praised the tenacity and commitment of the Member States in the development of the tourism industry, allowing ECOWAS to become a tourist hub. An ECOWAS Destination with attractive and quality services can compete with the big tourist destinations around the world especially now with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which provides diverse opportunities in development, job creations, economic growth and boost regional integration.
“I take this opportunity to express the hope that this regulation will strengthen the use of our local products and reflect our cultural and traditional values, thereby making our hotel industry a melting point of West African skilled craftsmanship, creativity and innovations. I therefore invite you to take ownership of this forum, to consider and adopt the report of the Meeting of Experts and to implement the relevant recommendations contained therein,” she added.
Dr. Fernando VAZ, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts of Guinea-Bissau, in chairing the meeting, congratulated all participants. He hailed the immense work done drafting these texts and criteria that henceforth will govern and restructure the classification of the tourist accommodation establishments.
He further called on his fellow ministers to carefully peruse the recommendations and proceed with the adoption of these texts so that from this day on. “The ECOWAS destination is at the rendezvous of first-choice destinations with hotels, aparthotels, motels, inns, ecolodges, campsites and high-quality bed and breakfasts to amaze our visitors, generate and secure qualified jobs and increase tourist flows and receipts,” he added.
Dr. Kossi G. LAMADOKOU, Minister of Togo, reiterated to his colleagues that after adopting these guidelines, implementation must be at the highest level if tourism industry is to succeed and compete with the best.
The meeting came to a close with the adoption of the recommendations from the Experts meeting held 3rd – 5th April, 2023.